Create New Markets With Category Design

We recommend completing these sections on a desktop, printing your sheets and/or saving your work as PDFs.

Category Design is the discipline of creating and monetizing new markets in a noisy world - Play Bigger book

Part two of our Category Design series worksheets will introduce you to the framework and steps needed to build out a Category Name.



Here you’ll want to come up with general questions and answers about your problem/solution/ecosystem and share with others to gain feedback. This insight will help align your focus.

Example of a general question:

Explain to me, as if I were a teenager, what problem you are solving.


Dave Peterson, co-author of Play Bigger, encourages entrepreneurs to answer these questions in the Problem/Solution phase when they’re building out a new category.

What problem do you want to solve?
Is this a market insight (Uber) or technology insight (VM Ware), and why?
If you solve that problem, what is the category?
If you build the category, how big is it?
What could be the “emotional a-ha!” your customers will feel when they have a deep problem that needs solving?


Blueprint Map

Your blueprint needs to set the agenda and requirements for your category and establish the problem by illustrating it graphically. It’s a visual that represents how the category problem ultimately gets solved, whether or not you have the complete solution today.



The ecosystem paints a clear picture of how customers, developers, and partners interact. It too needs to be a visual that illustrates the flow of your business and all the different connections to your ecosystem as you’re conducting business.

Begin to list out all the connections between your company, its departments (marketing, IT, etc.), and externals as you conduct business.

External Connections to Department


When you create your Point of View, you’ll need to adjust messaging based on whom you are talking to about your product/service.

Begin to map out your customer’s concerns and why it’s unique to them - it’ll help you to begin to think differently about your category and know that you’re addressing the concerns of your ecosystem.

Quick tip: Look to Hubspot for examples of personas

Begin to develop descriptions of your various customers in your ecosystem. Include their concerns, what matters to them, and how your problem addresses their concerns.

Persona Description


The Category Name helps the world understand the problem and identifies the audience who is dealing with the problem.

As you’re starting to define the Category Name, keep these components in mind:

  • Identify the nature of the problem
  • Identify the audience who has the problem
  • It should be utilitarian
  • Everyone should be able to use it
  • Do not acronize it
  • It’s the best attempt to label your category
  • It’s better to create a bigger category so you can grow into your Suit Size

Team Exercise: Category Name


  • Pad of yellow sticky notes - 1 pad for each person in the group
  • Black markers
  • Whiteboard
  • Computer/Excel Spreadsheet


  1. Have everyone write down on a sticky note 5 words they think should influence a Category Name
  2. Now rank them from 5 (most influential word) to 1 (least influential word)
  3. Group all the words by numbers
  4. Each person places their stickies up on the whiteboard by number
  5. Start to build out your spreadsheet and list all the words. If a word has a 5 ranking, then put that word in 5x, 4 ranking add that word 4x, and so on. Complete that process for all the yellow stickies.
  6. Copy all the words into a word cloud generator
  7. Reflect on the words that stand out for a Category Name



A Point of View is an emotional story that appeals to people’s instincts and gut. It communicates the whole Category Design strategy, tells a story, and is easy enough for the audience to understand how you are going to solve their problem.

Basic written format for a 2-Minute POV:

  • Frame the Problem - 100 words
  • Problem Ramifications - 200 words
  • Vision for the Future - 100 words
  • Outcomes - 200 words


EXERCISE: Work with your team to draft a POV

As you are developing your POV, keep these tips in mind:

  • Create an emotional story
  • Appeal to one’s instinct
  • Don’t bash the competition
  • Introduce your category
  • Introduce your taxonomy
Frame the Problem Problem Ramifications Vision for the Future Outcomes
(urgent, strategic) (pain) (different) (valuable)


Now that you’ve developed your Category Name and POV, it’s time to get your company marching in the same direction. In this phase, you’ll unify the team around the Category Design strategy to communicate your vision.

What are some steps you need to take to mobilize the team?


Lightning Strikes can help align the objectives and goals of your business, and unify the team in a concentrated period of time. Lightning Strikes can be a simple to complex marketing effort that begins to change the way people think about your category and POV to grow the word-of-mouth.

Tips when you’re developing your Lightning Strike strategy

  • Execute several times a year to set the category agenda
  • Small powerful executions versus traditional marketing list
  • Hyperfocus on the targets and influencers that matter
  • Focus efforts on marketing the Problem and the Category - not your brand
  • Use your taxonomy in everything you communicate
  • Get others to start using your taxonomy
  • Tell your Point of View
  • Use FROTOS: Shift people away from their current thought process


What are your FROTOS? What do you want people to start saying about your product/service?